Relief ideas are good start

Gov. Andrew Cuomo this week released some of the details of his proposed tax-relief plan.

We contend the best way for the state to encourage property tax reduction is to provide significant mandate relief to enable local government to lower costs. However, Cuomo’s tax-relief efforts do set the state on a potentially productive track.

Cuomo is trying to provide incentives for local officials to consolidate services in exchange for temporary tax relief. He proposes a two-year property tax freeze, but only for New Yorkers living in jurisdictions that stay under a 2 percent cap on annual property tax increases during year one of the freeze and then implement a plan for shared services or administrative consolidation. Cuomo’s proposal should signal local officials to do everything possible to remain under the 2 percent cap and begin crafting plans to share services and consolidate administrative costs.

Cuomo also proposed a property tax “circuit breaker” that would provide tax relief to people earning up to $200,000. The relief would be in the form of a refundable tax credit. The plan is aimed at providing relief to people whose property tax bill exceeds their income tax, highlighting the plight of low- and middle-income taxpayers. The catch with the circuit breaker is the same as the tax freeze; it’ll only be available in jurisdictions that adhere to the property tax cap.

As legislators review the governor’s proposals, we encourage them to make state-mandate relief part of the plan.